In this topic area you’ll find guidance and tools to help you increase participation in education.

Participation means giving children a say in their education, listening to them and involving them as much as possible in school life. It means valuing their opinions and ideas and giving them control of their learning.

When children have a say in their education they not only exercise their rights they also:

•    Achieve more
•    Have improved self esteem
•    Get on better with their classmates and teachers
•    Contribute to a better school environment, with better discipline and a culture where learning is  a shared responsibility

There is evidence that involving pupils more in school life can have positive impacts for themselves, the school and staff. It can lead to:

•    Improvements in attainment
•    Pupils more confident in their learning
•    Improvements in teaching practice
•    Better discipline and behaviour
•    Enhanced communication and listening skills for pupils

how to guides coverParticipation Works ‘how to’ guides for schools
These guides have been specifically developed for those working in schools and other educational settings. They form part of the highly popular ‘how to’ series, providing practical advice and support around children and young people’s participation in decision making. The titles addressing key topics for schools include:
How to engage with diverse groups in schools and other educational settings
How to involve children and young people in school governance
How to support inclusive groups in schools and other educational settings
The latest three guides explore the ways in which children and young people can make a real and lasting contribution within schools and other educational settings. They use current case studies of good practice in the effective engagement of children and young people in schools, and provide practical examples for teachers and other staff.

Some of the information in this topic area is archived from the original Participation for Schools website. The Participation for Schools site was developed by a partnership of Save the Children UK, Carnegie Young People Initiative (part of Carnegie UK Trust), and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

creative methods How to guideYour rights to be heard in school
This guide helps children and young people know their rights to be heard and taken seriously if they want to have more of a say in their education
Part of a five piece set Your Rights to be Heard
Find out more

Children in School (175 KB PDF)
Annual review from NCB which has included a section setting out children’s views. Children are directly affected by the debate about schools, and they also have some valuable insights of their own, as well as a right to be heard. NCB think this is true of children in school too: the evidence
shows that schools that encourage the active participation of their pupils are often happier,
more purposeful and more successful places than those that don’t.

Promising Rights: Introducing children's rights at school
This book shares the experiences of one school that has gone beyond the usual approaches to children’s rights, finding imaginative ways to increase children’s participation.

The School Council: A children’s guide
This bestselling title is a colourful and comprehensive step-by-step guide to developing and maintaining a school council, written especially for children.

Pupil Engagement through Public Art Evaluation Report (PDF)
This report aims to outline the key findings from the evaluation process and to make recommendations, for further public art programmes in such contexts.

Pupil Voice Wales offers resources for children and young people in secondary schools as well as resources for adults like staff and governors.

Case Studies

These pages aim to show real examples of real schools where participation is making a difference to pupils and to the school environment.

Inspiring Schools

The Carnegie Young People Initiative (part of Carnegie UK Trust) published ‘Inspiring Schools Impact and Outcomes’ in 200


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Boothferry Primary School (case study)

The school has a very active school council and pupil consultation and participation is valued in the management of the school.

Clarendon School (case study)

This is a special school for pupils aged 7 to 16. The school has involved pupils in the school development plan and school policies.

Participation Works is a consortium of…
British Youth CouncilChildren's Rights Alliance for EnglandNational Council for Voluntary Youth ServicesNational Youth AgencyNCB

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